International study experience is an adventure

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

International study experiences

ACU Business and Commerce student Al McFarland talks about his study abroad experience.


Waiting out Hurricane Sandy in a pub in on New York’s Upper East Side, figuring out that city’s rental market and meeting Baz Luhrmann are just a few of the experiences ACU Business and Commerce student Al McFarland has had since undertaking a 12-month exchange at St John’s University in 2012.

Rugby star Al, who represented the USA at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, said the support of ACU was invaluable during his first year in New York.

“I was making the move from Sydney over to NYC to play rugby for the New York Athletic Club and decided to continue studying,” he said.

“After many weeks of work put in by my marketing lecturer Alex Cantali, which in fairness must have driven her to the edge, she stuck with me and made sure I was looked after, studying the subjects I wanted, and could continue my rugby career over here.

“I luckily arrived a few months early to acclimatise to the harsh NYC winter and get stuck into training. From day one I knew the staff was there to make sure we had everything we needed.

“At the end of my exchange I decided to stay on in NYC and now four years later I am still playing rugby, I qualified to represent the USA after three years of continuous residence, and I am now in the process of setting up my own café.

“My studies at ACU will help with both management and marketing aspects of my new business.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without ACU – the exchange program allowed me to have base here in NYC and I couldn’t recommend the experience more highly.”

ACU students have a great range of international experiences to choose from. These include student exchange programs in over 30 countries; professional placements and internships; community engagement activities in places like Timor Leste, Cambodia and Vanuatu; ACU-led study tours taught by our own academics in China, USA, Chile, Uganda and a new range of programs taught at ACU’s own Rome Centre throughout the year.

One of the most exciting new developments has been the introduction of the unique International Core program. This program is open to almost all undergraduates and it allows students to complete one of their compulsory core curriculum units in a choice of prime locations, including Rome, Paris, London and Beijing, during the summer or winter breaks.  New programs in other cities are now under development.

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